B2Gold is committed to responsible mining. Simply put - this means doing the right thing. Our business decisions incorporate careful consideration of people’s health and safety, environmental protection, and community well-being.
Social Responsibility Policy
B2Gold is committed to making a positive impact in the communities where we work. We recognize that our role in social responsibility extends to all aspects of our activities including health, safety, environment and social. We will understand and integrate social factors into our decision-making process at all stages of our activities - from exploration and operations through to closure and reclamation.
Our social responsibility commitments include:
- Engaging regularly, openly and honestly with our host communities and all stakeholders.
- Understanding the views of people impacted by our operations and considering these in our decision making.
- Respecting and avoiding negative impact on existing cultures and heritage in our host communities.
- Ensuring that our social responsibility is evident in our commitments to responsible health, safety and environmental performance.
- Making positive contributions to society by investing in community development projects in the communities where we operate.
- Committing to sustainable community development in areas of health, education and economic development.
- Respecting human rights and acting with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others, addressing adverse impacts that occur, and facilitating access to remedy.
- Respecting the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples, and identifying and understanding the interests and perspectives of Indigenous Peoples when seeking to develop or operate a mining activity.
- Sharing our social responsibility commitments with our supply chain.
- Building awareness and capacity to identify, understand and manage the social impacts of our presence.
Employees, contractors and suppliers are expected to demonstrate awareness and act with behavior that supports the intention of this policy.
Many of the regions where B2Gold is working are characterized by low levels of economic development, limited infrastructure and a lack of social support systems for at-risk communities. The opportunity for a mining company to make a positive impact, while operating in these areas, is a fundamental driver of our commitment to responsible mining.
Our community investment programs are focused on sustainable principles that can strengthen a community, provide alternative livelihoods and contribute to alleviation of poverty.
B2Gold’s community investment priorities are in areas of public health, education, and small-scale economic development through livelihood generation. Many of our efforts are in partnership with locally based NGOs who have valuable expertise that are critical to successful outcomes.
We work closely with communities to create and implement integrated development programs that take into account local issues, concerns and needs. Recognizing that all mines have a finite life, we are focusing on long-term sustainable development that is independent of our activities.
Education for All in Nicaragua
Investing in community education is one of B2Gold’s passions. We believe that education is the foundation for empowering people and enabling a positive transformation in their communities. B2Gold invests in community education programs at all of our major projects world-wide.
Near the mine at El Limon, Nicaragua, B2Gold’s “Education for All” program is based on a holistic approach encompassing teacher training, improving access to educational materials, and changing behaviours and attitudes through the celebration of reading. This program is positively impacting teachers and an estimated 350 children in the 13 communities near the mine.
One B2Gold sponsored program with a highly visible impact is the “BiblioBus”. This mobile library on a bus visits various communities every month making reading a real event in communities that have limited access to books. Children excitedly line-up whenever the bus comes to town to learn about the world through reading and exchange the book they have read for a new book.
B2Gold also distributes school supplies to help poor or marginalized children attend school wherever we are operating or exploring. We also provide scholarships and bursaries for youth in the Philippines, Namibia and Nicaragua. These programs are part of our commitment to making a meaningful and lasting commitment in the communities where we work.
Namibian Disability Mushroom Farm
In Namibia, production of mushrooms is insufficient to meet local demand and so mushrooms are imported from South Africa. In 2010, a new mushroom farm opened for business in Otjiwarongo, Namibia as part of a United Nations Development Program initiative. Although the farm produced some 4000 mushrooms in its first year of production, and the product was popular locally, the farm closed after its first harvest due to several challenges.
B2Gold recognized the potential and value in the project, and when the members of the farm decided to reinitiate production we agreed to provide support. One of the challenges faced by the farm was a lack of funding for instrumentation required to control mushroom generation, so B2Gold has financed the required instrumentation.
Otjiwarongo is one of the communities supported by B2Gold through community investment as we develop our Otjikoto mine. B2Gold believes the mushroom project is very important as it potentially provides a sustainable livelihood for some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Namibia – the mushroom farm is run by people living with disabilities. In addition to a livelihood, the farm provides members, who are socially excluded, with an opportunity to contribute and demonstrate their worth to society.
Today the mushroom farm is producing for the local market in two clay sheds containing up to 30,000 mushrooms. Mushrooms grow for 30 days before harvest. To make profitable use of the spent substrate in which mushrooms are grown, the farm has started cultivating other crops on land near the mushroom sheds.
Creating Alternative Livelihoods in Rural Philippines
A driving philosophy of B2Gold’s Community Investment strategy is to assist communities in developing sustainable livelihoods which do not depend solely upon mining activity.
At the Masbate project in the Philippines, B2Gold has supported the development of vegetable farming in areas which did not traditionally support this activity with excellent results.
The initial breakthrough was to encourage farmers to recognize the possibility of growing crops in soil types which were not previously used for this activity. Initially, these crops were sold to the mine’s kitchen, but as production increased a small demand for the produce was developed in the local community. Further success by the farmers led to the need to construct a covered market area to expand their commerce. We welcomed the opportunity to finance the construction of this facility.
B2Gold is currently introducing the concept of Integrated Farming as the next step in helping make farming operations sustainable. In a model Integrated Farm, organic waste from livestock is used to improve crop yields that can in turn supply better feed for the livestock. Integrated Farming practices achieve better productivity, reduce negative impacts on the environment, and improve quality of life for farmers.
To date, 943 people have benefitted from these and a range of other projects including fishing, livestock production, sewing, and many agriculture projects. B2Gold’s livelihood projects are intended to alleviate poverty and contribute to a sustainable future for the 8 communities near the Masbate Mine.
Measuring Impacts from Investments in Health
When people are not healthy, it can be difficult to take advantage of available opportunities to improve their lives. Therefore, B2Gold believes that an investment in Community Health underpins the success of other initiatives intended to alleviate poverty. Making a positive impact in the communities in which we work is a commitment at B2Gold, so we invest in Community Health wherever we have active projects.
At the Masbate project in the Philippines, B2Gold has initiated and supported several health projects aligned with the priorities of the 8 communities neighboring the mine. In addition to sanitation and water supply projects, these initiatives include support for local health care workers, the establishment of pharmacies serving the local communities, stocking those pharmacies, and providing business management assistance.
In Namibia, the government has been combating major health epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and polio. B2Gold supports these initiatives as well as working with local stakeholders to identify other regional health issues that are critically impacting public health. B2Gold projects are focusing on child nutrition, pre-natal care, OBGYN care, and providing needed medical supplies in outlying hospitals.
To ensure that our investments in health initiatives are making meaningful and positive contributions, B2Gold has started measuring the impact of various projects. The Las Brisas school in Managua is one example from Nicaragua.
B2Gold collaborated with the Fabretto Children’s Foundation to build and equip a cafeteria and a perimeter wall at Las Brisas School in Managua. The project benefits primary students with reinforcing school security and providing some balanced meals during the school day.
The improvements were made in 2012 and one year later the project is already making a measureable positive impact on the children’s health. The Fabretto project has benefitted 413 children, who received nearly 56,000 school lunches in 2012. Improved weight and nutrition standards have already been evident in 11% of the children.
The project also provides education benefits through increased school enrollment, better daily attendance, improved academic performance and increased parent involvement and interest in the school.
B2Gold recognizes the interplay between health and education as the foundation for people to build a better future, and is committed to sustainable community development wherever we work.
Working with Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners
It is estimated that between 20 and 30 million artisanal and small miners are working worldwide, with many of them producing gold. The areas around most of B2Gold’s mines and projects globally are also home to small miners. We recognize that many communities maintain their livelihood through artisanal and small mining and we are committed to supporting livelihoods.
In some regions there is a strong history of artisanal mining, sometimes spanning several generations, and individuals wish to continue a tradition of mining. Other individuals are dependent on small mining, but would prefer an alternative livelihood, if such opportunities can be found.
In the Philippines and Nicaragua, B2Gold supports more than 2,600 small miners through professional relationships. We support artisanal miners in the formation of cooperatives and we purchase and process ore from small miner cooperatives. Unlike most artisanal mining activities, B2Gold does not use mercury to produce gold. As a result, the ore purchase arrangement reduces the negative health impacts of mercury on miners and their families, benefits the environment while providing some economic stability for the miners.
In Nicaragua, B2Gold has also created a “Small Miners Affairs” group which actively works to manage issues related to small mining, including support programs, technical solutions, and alternative livelihood projects.
Finally, initiatives with various government and NGO partners are being advanced to provide additional alternative ore processing options and to address safety and environmental risks associated with small-scale mining activity.
Our commitment to pursuing a relationship with artisanal and small-scale miners is driven by concern for the safety of miners and their families, concern for their impact on the environment and a commitment to sustain or improve their livelihoods.
Occupational Health & Safety
B2Gold is committed to the protection and promotion of the safety, human health, and welfare of its employees, communities, and stakeholders.
Occupational Health & Safety Policy
B2Gold Corp. is committed to the protection and promotion of the human health, safety and welfare of its employees. B2Gold’s objective is to achieve and maintain zero workplace injuries and occupational illnesses as we believe that all injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable. We further believe that health and safety considerations are integral to and compatible with all other management functions in the organization and that effective health and safety management will enhance rather than adversely affect production or costs.
To achieve this, B2Gold will:
- Utilize the B2Gold OHS Standards and project management systems to identify and eliminate or mitigate occupational health and safety hazards/risks;
- Ensure compliance with all applicable statutory obligations, relevant industry guidelines and internal and external safety and health standards;
- Ensure that management holds employees and contractors accountable for their safety and health performance;
- Establish clearly defined occupational health and safety programs complete with clearly established targets and performance indices;
- Make working safely a condition of employment;
- Ensure that all employees and contractors are trained to understand their health and safety responsibility in accordance with the Company’s policies and procedures;
- Ensure that all employees and contractors use proper personal protective clothing and the correct equipment for the task;
- Recognize and reward safe behaviour by employees and contractors;
- Prepare for and maintain capability to effectively respond to emergencies and crises;
- Investigate the causes of accidents and incidents and develop effective preventative and remedial actions; and
- Monitor, assess and audit our operations to ensure continuous improvement of our occupational health and safety performance.
All employees, contractors and site visitors of B2Gold are expected to adhere to the commitments defined in this policy.
La Libertad Mine Receives Occupational H&S Award
La Libertad Mine is B2Gold’s largest operation in Nicaragua, with more than 1,400 full time staff and contractors. B2Gold is committed to the implementation of superior occupational health and safety management practices and recognizes that a safe operation will protect its workers and deliver superior results for all stakeholders.
In October 2012, La Libertad mine’s implementation of these health and safety principles was recognized by Nicaragua’s National Counsel for Safety and Hygiene and the Ministry of Labour. La Libertad was distinguished by the Counsel as a Corporate Leader in the area of worker health, safety and hygiene. The Corporate Leader designation is the top prize awarded in Nicaragua in the area of occupational health and safety.
B2Gold is committed to minimize the impact on and conserve the quality of the environment in areas where we operate.
B2Gold Corp. is committed to minimizing the impact on and conserving the quality of the natural environments in areas where we operate. As part of our corporate environmental commitment, B2Gold will provide sufficient resources to ensure environmental risks are adequately addressed during all phases (exploration, design, construction and closure) of each project.
To achieve this, B2Gold will:
- Utilize the B2Gold Environmental Standards and project management systems to identify and eliminate or mitigate environmental impacts;
- Apply a proactive risk-management approach to safeguard and protect the environment;
- Ensure compliance with all applicable statutory obligations, relevant industry guidelines and internal and external environmental standards;
- Foster and maintain an environmentally responsible culture, behaviour and awareness within the workplace;
- Encourage open dialogue and maintain processes for receiving and responding to stakeholder concerns with respect to our environmental commitments;
- Encourage workforce behaviours that promote environmental stewardship;
- Conserve and protect local water resources;
- Adopt appropriately funded reclamation strategies for B2Gold operations from exploration through closure;
- Prepare for and maintain capability to effectively respond to emergencies that involve hazardous substances; and
- Monitor, assess and audit our operations to ensure continuous improvement of our environmental performance.
All employees, contractors and site visitors of B2Gold are expected to adhere to the commitments defined in this policy. B2Gold is proud of its commitment to the environment and will continually strive to improve our environmental performance and reduce our environmental impact.
B2Gold is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and integrated approaches to land use planning at our operations.
B2Gold Corp. is committed to the conservation of biodiversity and an integrated approach to land use planning. This commitment includes respecting legally protected areas and species, understanding the interfaces between mining and biodiversity, identifying areas of our operations that may have a negative impact on biodiversity, and implementing mitigation measures for impacts on biodiversity and the rehabilitation of affected areas.
To achieve this, B2Gold will:
- Maintain natural ecosystems and manage protected areas that may be either directly or indirectly impacted by our project activities;
- Respect indigenous people’s rights and values for natural resources and involve them in developing and agreeing on appropriate management strategies for potential impacts;
- Comply with all applicable statutory obligations relating to biodiversity;
- Provide employee awareness programs related to the protection of biodiversity;
- Conserve biodiversity by identifying and avoiding potential habitat destruction and exploring and implementing mitigation strategies when loss of habitat is unavoidable;
- Conduct impact assessments and apply risk management when situations identify potential adverse impacts on biodiversity;
- Consult with relevant stakeholders on issues relating to biodiversity;
- Adopt reclamation and closure strategies that protect the biodiversity of areas impacted by our operations.
B2Gold Corp. recognizes that mining has the potential to result in significant impacts on biodiversity. Biodiversity conservation and the mitigation of potential biodiversity impacts are supported by the organization’s senior management.
Going Beyond Compliance for Biodiversity Conservation
The town of Santo Domingo is located roughly 110 kilometers east of Managua and is home to about 12,000 people. The area has a mining history dating back to the mid-1800’s, and cattle farming is also an important local activity. The Santo Domingo project, located near the town, is being developed as part of B2Gold’s largest operation in Nicaragua – the La Libertad Mine.
The development of a mining project has impacts on the surrounding flora and fauna. As part of its commitment to the conservation of biodiversity, B2Gold has established a Wildlife Refuge as a measure to mitigate the potential impacts of the Santo Domingo project on the local flora and fauna. The Santo Domingo Wildlife Refuge has been established on 84 hectares of land purchased by B2Gold.
The Refuge provides protected habitat for the relocation of flora and fauna from the Santo Domingo project area. The first phase of the Santo Domingo Wildlife Refuge consists of the rescue of plants and animals. As of the 3rd quarter of 2013, more than 11,000 plants (trees, orchids, etc.) and over 400 animals - including species of amphibians (63%), reptiles (21%), mammals (10%) and crustaceans (6%) – have been rescued and relocated to the Wildlife Refuge. This flora and fauna rescue and relocation program is the first of its kind in Nicaragua.
To manage the Wildlife Refuge, B2Gold has collaborated with the local community and the Friends of the San Juan River Foundation. Members of the local community have been trained in theoretical and practical aspects of plant and animal care, in safe capture methods for animals, and Flora and Fauna Rescue Brigades have been established. A Management Plan for the Refuge has been developed and implemented in alignment with the guidelines of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.
Trained Officers monitor the relocation efforts, the biodiversity, and the anthropogenic use and/or impacts within the Refuge. Future plans include the installation of an interpretation centre and interpretative footpaths. The Wildlife Refuge is helping to ensure the long term viability of the biodiversity in the area surrounding the Santo Domingo project.